Indiana

Indiana Background Checks: Government Employers, Contractors Must Use E-Verify

indiana background checksSay what?  Another requirement for Indiana background checks? Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 590 ( IC 22-5-1.7) is effective July 1, 2011 and requires the following to participate in E-Verify:

  • All state agencies
  • Employers who have “public contracts for services”
    • With a state agency; or
    • Receive grants exceeding $1000 from a state agency

This applies to all employees hired AFTER June 30, 2011 or grants entered into or renewed after June 30, 2011.

Step 1 is to determine if this applies to you.  Pretty straightforward if you are a state employer or a state contractor.  What about Indiana school corporations?

IASBO has declared that the law DOES apply to Indiana School Corporations as they are designated as “political subdivisions” under IC 36-1-2-13.

Step 2 is to understand what E-Verify means.  To put it simply E-Verify is a federal program that determines an employee’s legal right to work in the U.S.

Step 3 is understanding the penalties for non-compliance:

  • State can sue employers who do not use E-Verify to recover unemployment insurance benefits paid to workers on or after 07/01/2011 if the employer knew the employee was not eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Will not enter into or renew contracts with signed affidavit declaring participating in E-Verify.
  • Employers are allowed 30 days to remedy the violation.
  • After 30 days, a violation will result in termination of contract and possible damages (if assigning contract leads to higher costs).

Step 4 is compliance.   The federal government site is very time consuming and labor intensive.

So, Safe Hiring Solutions has created an integration that allows employers to file I-9’s electronically and conduct an E-Verify search.  Contact us today for more information on E-Verify and Indiana background checks.

 

Indiana Background Checks: Is Inkless System Wise Choice for Schools?

indiana background checksWell, let’s take a quick look at the process and you can decide if the Access Indiana Inkless System is a wise background screening choice for schools.  In July of 2009, the Indiana legislature passed an Expanded Criminal History (ECH) statute which defined how schools must conduct criminal background checks. Indiana background checks have been a lightning rod for the state since the Indianapolis Star and WTHR Channel 13 exposed the gross deficiencies with the state's limited criminal history check.  The investigative report found that many county clerks were not sending their criminal records to the state which allowed convicted sex offenders to slip through the cracks.

The ECH statute gives Indiana schools two options for conducting criminal background checks:

  1. National Sex Offender Registry and a Search of All Counties of Residence; or
  2. State’s Inkless System.

Prior to the ECH requirement, a majority of large school districts in Indiana were already partnering with Safe Hiring Solutions and conducting comprehensive national criminal background checks that included:

  • Social Security Verification
  • National Criminal Database Search
  • National Sex Offender Registry Search
  • County Criminal Searches
  • Indiana Participating Courts Search

So the new law did not require them to make any changes.  The package we offer is more comprehensive than the ECH requirements.

However, some schools have opted to use the Inkless process for their Indiana Background Check.  And what does that look like?  The Inkless system is a fingerprint process that checks against the state criminal repository and then against the NCIC database.

Well, what are the big differences between the two methods:

  • Cost.  Inkless is around $43 and SHS is $28
  • Turnaround Time.  Inkless can take weeks and requires each applicant to drive to a collection site to be fingerprinted.  SHS can be entered into our system and completed in 2-3 business days.
  • Criminal Data.  Inkless is a felony search that checks against the 19 crimes that exclude an applicant from being employed with an Indiana School district.  SHS reports all misdemeanor and felonies.
  • Report:  Inkless process does not provide a criminal history report but a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” from the Indiana State Police.  SHS provides a comprehensive criminal background screening report with all reportable records.

That additional cost and slower turnaround time are certainly significant issues.  However, I think from an employers perspective the three things that would frighten me the most are:

  • Not Being Able to See the Report.  If I don’t seen the report but receive a thumbs down then I am making an adverse employment decision based unknown criminal acts.
  • Only Felony Records.  Are DUI’s important?  Is a person convicted of battery, domestic violence, possession of drugs or theft somebody a school would employ?
  • Restricts the Hiring Process:  What does that mean?  The hiring process starts with a thorough application that is signed by the applicant.  Criminal background screening reports should be compared against the application.  If an applicant indicated on an application that they had never been convicted of a crime but it was revealed they had a misdemeanor conviction for public intoxication, then this could be significant.  Not because public intoxication is a high crime but because the applicant lied and dishonesty is always grounds for denying employment.  Inkless will not give you this opportunity for comparison.

The bottom line is the Inkless system is slow, expensive and does not provide enough data or transparency to keep our schools safe.

Contact Safe Hiring Solutions for more information on Expanded Criminal History Checks.

School Volunteer Background Checks in Indiana

school-volunteer-background-checks-indianaIt has been almost 7 years since WTHR Channel 13 and the Indianapolis Star did a two-part expose on the gaping holes in the Indiana State Police Limited Criminal History.  Channel 13 and the Star pulled 10 names off of the Indiana Sex Offender Registry and 8 out of the 10 convicted sex offenders came back clear.  It is hard to fathom, let alone stomach, a failure rate of 80% on a sex offender background check in Indiana. In July of 2009 the State of Indiana eliminated the Indiana Limited Criminal History as an employment background check option for Indiana school systems and began requiring an Expanded Criminal History Check.  Too many violent offenders and unsuitable applicants were slipping through the cracks and being hired by Indiana school systems.

So why do Indiana schools continue to rely upon this broken system to conduct thousands of volunteer background checks and grant them access to our children?  Money.  The state gives school systems free access to the Limited Criminal History.  With the current financial state of schools, discarding a free process, no matter how flawed, is not an easy sell to school boards.

However, the bottom line is the limited criminal history background checks in Indiana are still flawed.  No matter how tight our budgets are we still have a duty to protect our children from those who want to harm them.  So we need to be creative and come up with a solution that provides protection to the children and does not further bankrupt schools.

The Expanded Criminal History Checks require the applicants for employment to pay for their own background checks.  What a noble concept.  What applicant would not pay $30 for a background check in Indiana to get a job?  The same concept can be successfully applied to volunteers where the cost of a comprehensive volunteer background check is nearly half the cost of the employment checks.

So the bottom line is we have not seen much progress with school volunteer background checks in Indiana.  The Limited Criminal History is still flawed and full of data gaps and errors.  However, the good news is you can do comprehensive volunteer background screening and it does not have to break the bank.

If you are a volunteer organization and would like more information on our volunteer background screening packages click here.

Questions?  Comments?  Feel free to add your thoughts below.